Collaboration underpins successful introduction of decriminalised enforcement in The Highlands

Decriminalised parking enforcement (DPE) has now been adopted by the Highland Council responsible for the UK’s largest local government area. The Highland Council has become the first local authority to take advantage of a new collaboration contract with The City of Edinburgh Council as it takes over responsibility for issuing penalty charge notices for vehicles parked, waiting or loading vehicles in contravention from Police Scotland. Building on the Scottish capital’s close partnership with enforcement specialists NSL, the move has seen the introduction of a new team of Council Parking Enforcement Officers to help maximise compliance with parking regulations across the 11,800 sq mile region – with initial emphasis on Fort William and Inverness.

The new arrangement came into effect at the beginning of October with warning notices initially issued to motorists who have contravened parking enforcement regulations. The new collaborative venture has enabled The Highland Council to capitalise on efficiency gains from The City of Edinburgh Council. Significantly, it has also provided the authority with the experience and expertise of NSL which has provided dedicated skills and conflict management training for the new Parking Enforcement Officers.

“Having helped over 1,800 members of staff achieve relevant professional qualifications over the past year, we know just how important effective training and ongoing personal development is within highly regulated public service environments like parking enforcement,” says Heather Grieve, NSL’s Client Account Manager for The City of Edinburgh Council. “The service we’re providing in Edinburgh has delivered substantial savings and a dramatic improvement in both compliance and customer service levels. We’re delighted that The Highlands Council has now taken advantage of this service model and collaborative framework to help ensure the seamless and effective introduction of decriminalised enforcement arrangements in the region.”

The Highland Council has confirmed that all revenue derived from the issue of Penalty Charge Notices as a result of the adoption of decriminalised enforcement will be spent on maintaining the service and any surplus will only be used for traffic-related projects. Police Scotland will still be responsible for reportable traffic offences on all roads, such as dangerous parking or causing an obstruction.

According to Shane Manning, Highland Council’s Principal Traffic Officer, the authority has made every effort to consult and keep the motoring public informed of the new enforcement arrangements and to set high levels of customer service from the outset. “As well as regular features in the local press we’ve developed a new element to our website so that people can find out more about the new arrangements, search traffic order maps by postcode and pay parking fines online.”

Cllr Alan Henderson, Chair of the Community Services Committee, said: “Early indications are showing after the first two trial weeks that our new Parking Enforcement Officers are being very effective at discouraging illegal parking. Traffic flow is improving in Inverness city centre and the new Sunday parking enforcement is also being adhered to. In the first week alone, 1400 warnings were issued to illegally parked vehicles. Officers are encouraging and advising motorists and are only enforcing as the last resort.”

NSL has fostered a strong partnership with The City of Edinburgh Council since 2006 and has helped transform the efficiency and effectiveness of DPE in the capital since the introduction of this new collaboration framework, which has provided savings in excess of £400K in the first year of operation. Service delivery has been developed and refined to provide other neighbouring authorities with the opportunity to form a simple collaborative partnership in order to take advantage of the same dedicated approach, economies of scale and substantial operational benefits. There has been a significant improvement in compliance levels and outstanding feedback from both residents and visitors to the city, with the additional reassurance of a uniformed presence in the city centre and local communities.


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Notes to Editors:

NSL is a leading UK company specialising in the delivery and management of frontline services in complex public sector and regulated environments. Our core services include business process management; enforcement; passenger and social transport; street management and technical design services. We currently have over 70 contracts with local, regional and central government, as well as with the airport and the private sector, and have delivered contracts for high-profile government agencies, such as The Royal Parks, DVLA, Transport for London and Transport Northern Ireland.